WMO: Heat-related death rate in Europe rises 30 percent in 20 years

ВМО: уровень смертности из-за аномальной жары в Европе вырос на 30 процентов за 20 лет

Fires in Athens, Greece. WMO: Heat-related death rate in Europe rises 30 percent in 20 years Climate and Environment

As a result of climate change, millions of Europeans will face floods, record heat and other shocks in 2023. Weather extremes and natural disasters are becoming the “new normal,” the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday, urging countries to prioritize adaptation to the situation.

A new report on the state of the climate in Europe for 2023, published by WMO and the Copernicus Climate Change Service, confirms the findings that 2023 was the warmest or warmest year, depending on the data set used. the second warmest year on record. The results reflect global trends in climate change, but they are especially important because the European region is warming faster than others, the WMO said.

Experts say there was a record number of days with “extreme” levels of heat stress across Europe last year, as well as an increase in the number of days with “severe” levels of heat stress. In addition, during the long summer from June to September, the continent’s population experienced heat waves, wildfires, droughts and floods.

“Over the past 20 years, the mortality rate associated heat, increased by about 30 percent,” the WMO reported. The number of deaths is estimated to have increased in almost all countries.

Dangerous Records

Accurate estimate of deaths for 2023 yet not available, but WMO officials noted that between 55 thousand and 72 thousand people died as a result of heat waves in 2003, 2010 and 2022.

“The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our generation,” said WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo. “The cost of action on climate change may seem high, but the cost of inaction is much higher.”

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Researchers find that Members of the public and some medical professionals did not take the dangers of overheating seriously enough. Thus, efforts are needed to increase awareness of and preparedness for extreme weather events.

Land temperatures in Europe were above average for 11 months in 2023, according to WMO data. year, including the warmest September on record.

Rainfall was seven percent above average, with European river levels reaching record levels in December, according to the report. During 2023, the “severe” flood threshold was exceeded in a third of the European river network, and almost one in seven rivers exceeded the “extreme” flood thresholds.

Extreme events

Record sea surface temperatures also reflect an alarming warming trend. In June, warming of up to 5 degrees Celsius above average was observed in the Atlantic Ocean west of Ireland and around the UK. According to the WMO, the event was classified as “extreme” and in some areas “beyond extreme”.

The average sea surface temperature in the European region in 2023 was the highest on record, the organization said. In particular, parts of the Mediterranean Sea and northeast Atlantic Ocean recorded record average annual temperatures.

The report also highlights Europe’s growth in electricity generation using renewable technologies. This was due to high storm activity from October to December, which led to an increase in wind farm productivity. In addition, hydroelectric power production increased in 2023, driven by increased rainfall and river flows.

However, solar power generation was below average in the Northwest and Central regions Europe, but above average in Southwestern Europe, Southern Europe and Scandinavia.

Glacier loss

The report also confirmed that most of Europe experienced below average snow days in winter and spring, especially in Central Europe and the Alps.

This resulted in an extremely large-scale loss ice in the Alps, exacerbated by severe summer melting due to heat waves. Alpine glaciers lost about 10 percent of their remaining volume during 2022 and 2023.

Data for 2023 did not allay concerns about the situation at the Earth’s poles: in the Arctic, last year became the sixth warmest on record, and temperatures across the Arctic land masses were the fifth warmest on record, just behind 2022. However, the five warmest years have occurred since 2016, the WMO noted.

According to the organization, for most of 2023, the extent of the Arctic Ocean remained below average. Last year’s average monthly high in March was four percent below average, the fifth-lowest level on record. In September, the extent was 18 percent below average.

According to the WMO, total carbon emissions from forest fires in subarctic and arctic regions last year were the second highest in history. the entire history of observations. This is due to high latitude forest fires, most of which occurred in Canada between May and September.


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